Young volunteers clean up streets of Victoria (Video)

April 28, 2012 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated April 27, 2012 at 11:28 p.m.

Stroman Middle School students were all chatters and giggles Saturday as they volunteered with Keep Victoria Beautiful to clean up neighborhood streets.

"I don't generally like to get sweaty - but it's for a good cause," said 13-year-old Madison Ruis. "And it's fun walking around with my friends."

Gloria Tonsul-Lucas said she was particularly impressed with the 25 students who came to the final Stroman Middle School National Junior Honor Society community service project because the students have been taking tests at school last week.

"We had a good turnout in spite of the early hour on a Saturday," Tonsul-Lucas said. "We're trying to beautify the area."

Andria Delossantos, 13, said she is used to the early morning hours.

"It was not difficult to wake up early for the community service project because I wake up early every day for school," Andria said. "It's pretty much the same."

The middle school students coupled with the Miss Victoria court and volunteers from Dow to create a force of about 40 volunteers.

The Keep Victoria Beautiful volunteer crew covered several blocks between East Crestwood Street and Fillmore Avenue and between Winsdor and Laurent streets.

Karla Velazquez, 12, of Victoria, said this is her first community service project with Stroman Middle School National Junior Honor Society.

"I want to clean up the neighborhood and help the community look better," Karla said. "I also want to help the environment."

The volunteers went door to door cleaning up garbage along the streets asking residents whether they had any large items they wanted disposed of and helping them carry those items to the roadside for waste management crews to collect.

Destiny Burt, 12, said the crew had positive feedback from most of the residents.

"A few people want to get rid of stuff that they don't want to leave on the floor in their house or in the backyard," Destiny said.

Volunteers disposed of construction scraps for Jimmy Supak Jr., a resident from the 900 block of Lawndale Avenue.

"It was a great service and it is a benefit to the community," Supak said. "I can't always haul the stuff off myself, so it was a big help."

Volunteers also recreated the flower bed around the entrance to Shields Magnet School, planting flowers donated by the Devereux Foundation.

The city sponsors the "clean sweep" in three neighborhoods a year.

"Our next neighborhood sweep will be in October," said Keep Victoria Beautiful board president Jeffery Poche said. "But we will have other projects between now and then."

Michelle Chaves, 12, said she has done neighborhood cleanup drives before with her church, Covenant Life Center. It is always good to see a lot of people coming together to make the environment better, she said.

Miss Victoria Kelsey Thomas, 18, and Little Miss Victoria Taylor Bearden, 8, did not let their crowns hinder them from picking up trash and hauling construction scraps with the rest of the volunteers.

"It's fun to come out and be nice and clean up trash to help keep Victoria beautiful," Taylor said.

The two pageant queens were soon to be joined by Young Miss Victoria Jillian Brooks.

"Events like this help build teamwork," Kelsey said. "It builds character in younger kids who may not have done something like this before."

Volunteer Dian Patterson agreed.

"It is not just you working by yourself, you get together with other people who have similar ideas," Patterson said. "It's always nice when the homeowners come out and join us."



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